Somehow, we completely missed the news that Asheville, NC, is one big reeking “cesspool of sin,” according to State Sen. Jim Forrester, one of the chief backers of that state’s idiotic ban on gay marriage and all civil unions. But apparently hordes of street evangelists heard about it, and so they descended on Asheville’s annual Belle Chere music and arts festival to save some souls. Astonishingly, many of the filthy hippies attending the fair did not take very kindly to being told they were going to hell, leading to scenes of lewdness, depravity, and gleeful trolling (for example, the handmade sign above reads “Teach Children to Worship Satan” — it’s a worthy effort, though we’ve seen better).
According to Christian News Network, “the event has become more perverse with each passing year.” Asheville resident and evangelist Tom Pethtel, spurned by the heathen crowds, described festival-goers as having “an underlying real dark feel to people’s reaction when they hear people preaching or when someone tries to hand them a Gospel tract.” Another, missionary Jesse Boyd, expressed incredulity that Americans in large groups could be drunken louts, even when offered the precious gift of salvation by a man shouting at them through a bullhorn:
“I really believe I can understand just Lot’s vexation as described in II Peter 2:7-8. Last night, I attempted to preach on the love of God as displayed toward us in Christ. The crowd became so vile that it seemed as if such had already been given over to a reprobate mind.”
A number of brazen hussies responded to the preaching by flashing the evangelists with a wicked display of their dirtypillows, while “men would walk around in their underwear or completely naked.” Unspecified “public sex acts” also occurred, and “other lewd acts were performed in front of women and children.” (The Aristocrats!)
The report also claims that members of the crowd assaulted several preachers while police stood by doing nothing; Jesse Boyd and another unnamed evangelist claim that a police officer told him that the chief of police had given orders telling officers to not intervene. When the two “expressed concern” about the lewdness and assaults, the officer supposedly told them “Don’t come back to Asheville.”
Despite the inflamatory nature of this assertion, no sources other than the Christian News Network have as yet mentioned it, and it does not appear that even their reporter, Heather Clark, bothered to ask the police department about the alleged order. She does dutifully pass on that Boyd and the other evangelist say that a police commander “advised that North Carolina has no laws against public drunkenness or toplessness, and that if any of the Christians attempted to defend themselves against assault from an event-goer, both would go to jail.” Good solid reporting! Clark does manage to identify one incident that might be an assault: “a senior citizen was seen attempting to cover a woman walking around topless, but several officers restrained her from covering the woman.”
Your Wonkette certainly does not condone assaulting anything other than street preachers’ delicate sensibilities. We do, of course, stand solidly behind the people selling “Asheville: Cesspool of SIN” T-shirts, and the gentleman trolling the evangelists while wearing a traffic cone on his head. And given fundamentalists’ masochistic desire to see the rest of the world as wicked filth — “it was a true joy to preach with dear brothers in Christ and to stand alongside men of God in the face of pure evil,” said Jesse Boyd — we can only conclude that continuing to jeer at them is a pretty good deal for everyone.